What Is a CFM File?

Cold Fusion Markup files support the ColdFusion web server

A file with the CFM file extension is a Cold Fusion Markup file. They're sometimes called Cold Fusion Markup Language files, which might be seen abbreviated as CFML.

Cold Fusion Markup files are web pages made up of specific code that enables scripts and applications to run on a ColdFusion web server.

CFM files in Windows 10 that open with Notepad

CFM is also short for technology terms that have nothing to do with CFM files, like configuration file management, content flow manager, Code Fragment Manager, and Cyber Fed Model.

How to Open a CFM File

CFM files are text-based, which means they can be opened as a text file with any text editor, like Notepad in Windows or Brackets. Programs like these will properly show the contents of the file.

Other programs can open CFM files, too, like Adobe's ColdFusion and Dreamweaver software, as well as New Atlanta's BlueDragon.

Chances are, however, that unless you're a web developer, a CFM file you encounter probably shouldn't have been presented to you in that way. In other words, a server somewhere incorrectly provided you with a CFM file instead of the usable file that you expected.

For example, if you downloaded a CFM file from somewhere that you expected to be in a format like PDF or DOCX, a PDF reader isn't going to open the CFM and show your bank statement, nor is Microsoft Word going to show you that free greeting card template when it ends in CFM.

In these cases, try renaming the file, replacing the .cfm portion with .xyz, where "xyz" is the format you expected—such as .pdf or .docx. Then try opening the file normally, as you originally planned.

How to Convert a CFM File

Considering the text-based nature of a CFM file, there's little reason to use a file conversion program. However, a CFM file can be saved or converted to HTM/HTML to be viewable in a browser, but any functionality provided by the ColdFusion server would, of course, be lost.

Still Can't Open the File?

If your file won't open at this point, odds are you're dealing with a totally different file. This can happen if you've misread the file extension. Some files share common file extension letters and numbers, but that doesn't necessarily mean that their formats are related and that the files can be opened in the same software.

For example, CFF might look a lot like CFM but files that use that extension are used by the software Modelmaker. CMF is similar but could belong to the Connected Backup format that's used by the Connected Backup program. Another is FCM, or fCraft World files, that are used by fCraft.

If your file doesn't end in any of these file extensions, research the extension at the end of the filename to learn what format it's in and what program you need to have on your computer to open it.